NSW government offers relief for struggling tenants and landlords as part of lockdown stimulus package

The NSW government has reintroduced limits on tenant evictions as part of a financial relief package to mitigate Sydney’s extended lockdown but landlords won’t have to foot the entire bill.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced Tuesday there will be no evictions for the next 60 days for “those doing it tough”. This would include workers whose income dropped by 25 per cent.

The government would in turn offer land tax rebates for landlords who were offering rental relief for their tenants.

Landlords that are not required to pay land tax will be provided a $1500 payment.

Smiling Hispanic family outside rental home

Relief has been offered for both tenants and landlords.

Additional support will be provided for those sleeping rough, with close to 4000 temporary accommodation places being made available in the state.

The freeze on evictions is a similar policy to that introduced at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

The 2020 moratorium on rents meant tenants could not be evicted for falling behind in rent if they could prove they were economically affected by the outbreak.

Industry has so far welcomed the latest package.

Real Estate Institute of NSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said more details would need to be provided but early indications were that it was a step in the right direction.

Mr McKibbin said one point of contention was that it was not yet clear which landlords would qualify for the $1500 relief.

This could prove a critical element of the policy considering only 16 per cent of landlords in the state paid land tax.

Mr McKibbin said the lack of landlord support was a major flaw in last year’s moratorium on rents because it simply passed the financial burden from the tenant to the landlord.

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“Many landlords lost their jobs too but they didn’t get any support,” he said.

“Most landlords are mum and dad investors, not big institutional (investors) … some form of landlord support is welcome.”

Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said more details about the rental relief would need to be released but the government’s approach appeared better thought out than last year.

“It is good to see a recognition that it is not just tenants who are impacted,” she said. “The majority of landlords are not super rich, they are just regular people paying down a mortgage.”

She added that the 60 day freeze on evictions appeared “excessive” and indicated the government was possibly preparing for a worst-case scenario of a months long lockdown.

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